HATTIESBURG, Miss. – SIUE scored four times in the first inning Saturday en route to a 6-5 win over Southern Miss in non-conference baseball at Pete Taylor Park.
The Cougars improved to 16-30 and have now won seven of their last eight games. Southern Miss falls to 25-23 with the loss.
"We're just playing good baseball right now," SIUE Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said. "This team has been through a lot this year, and they're finally settling in and playing well."
For the second time in as many days the Cougars scored first and with the help of the long ball. Travis Becherer led off the game with a single and then advanced to second base on a groundout. Becherer scored on a single by James Vazquez. Joel Greatting and Skyler Geissinger followed with back-to-back home runs to make it 4-0 Cougars after one-half inning.
The homer was the seventh of the year for Greatting and his second consecutive first-inning blast. Greatting now leads the team with 33 RBIs. Geissinger's homer was the fifth for the freshman. He is second on the team with 29 RBIs. Both Greatting and Geissinger were 2 for 3 during the game. Becherer was 2 for 4.
"We're getting contributions from a lot of guys," Stoecklin said.
The Golden Eagles scored two runs in the first inning to cut the lead to 4-2 and then tied the game with a pair of runs in the fourth. All four runs came against Cougar starter Tony Schaeffer.
Both teams scored in the seventh inning for the final margin. Vazquez collected his second RBI with a fielder's choice, while Greatting picked up his third RBI of the game with a single.
Southern Miss got a leadoff walk from Schaeffer in the bottom of the seventh and then picked up three hits against reliever P.J. Schuster to add its final run of the game. Schaeffer improved to 2-4 with the win. He allowed all five runs on nine hits. He struck out one.
"Tony didn't have his best stuff today, but he went out there and battled," Stoecklin said. "It was probably his best effort of the year because he found a way to go six innings and keep us in the game."
Schuster tossed a perfect eighth and ninth inning. He struck out one and earned the first save of his career.
"P.J. did a great job today," Stoecklin said. "He came in a shut the door today. His stuff got better in the ninth inning."
Conor Fisk started and pitched six innings for the Golden Eagles. He struck out seven and did not figure into the decision. Reliever Daniel Wineski fell to 0-1 with the loss. He allowed both runs in the seventh.
Southern Miss finished the day with 12 hits. Center fielder Dillon Day led the way with four hits. He was 4 for 5 with two runs scored. Isaac Rodriguez and Mason Robbins each had two hits.
The Cougars and Golden Eagles will conclude the series with a 1 p.m. game Sunday.